Editor’s Choice Award 2019: Exemplary Convention Centre
10 Years And Above Specialised Category: Gold
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is often a hive of activity. Since it opened in June 2005, this convention centre has hosted about 15,000 events and around 24.5 million people.

From an idea conceived by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in collaboration with the late Tun Azizan Zainul Abidin, who was the former Petronas chairman, and the management of KLCC Group at that time, the convention centre was built to complement the entire KLCC development which also includes the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC Park, Menara Maxis and Suria KLCC Shopping Centre.

The hard work and professionalism of building owner KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and convention manager Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd has made KL Convention Centre a world-class convention centre that is able to be self-sustaining in its operations. Since day one, its income has been sufficient to cover its operational cost and deliver reasonable profits.

At EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed Property Awards this year, the KL Convention Centre was the Gold winner in the 10 years and above Specialised category. It was also bestowed the coveted Editor’s Choice Award 2019 — Exemplary Convention Centre at the Awards.

“We are truly honoured and grateful for these awards which we believe will enhance the centre’s national and international recognition,” KLCC (Holdings) group CEO Datuk Hashim Wahir tells EdgeProp.my.

“It is also a recognition that we are operating a world-standard facility and our commitment to world class standards at KL Convention Centre and the KLCC precinct. The centre has lived up to the hopes that we had prior to its opening and we continue to see it playing a key role in the heart of the city centre,” he adds.

The convention centre is being managed and operated by Convex Malaysia, a joint venture between KLCC (Holdings) and international venue management company AEG Ogden Pty Ltd.

Convex Malaysia general manager Alan Mark Pryor attributes the success of the facility to the 243,900 sq ft flexible function space itself which offers five exhibition halls, three conference halls, two auditoria, grand ballroom, plenary hall, plenary theatre and 23 meeting rooms.

The function space, he says, has high ceilings of between 30ft and 36ft and many of the rooms including the exhibition halls are equipped with operable walls, which offers flexibility to event organisers.

“We are very, very flexible and I’m talking about globally (by global standards). And that’s why the convention centre is able to be so successful because we can be very flexible and do very quick turnarounds for clients,” he adds.

The building has also incorporated sustainable design elements which enhances its operational efficiency. For instance, it adopted floor-to-ceiling glass windows which not only gives a spectacular view of the KLCC Park and iconic Petronas Twin Towers but also allows plenty of natural light in to all pre-function areas.

The challenges that come with success

The convention centre has hosted many inter-national conventions such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meetings, World Gas Conference, International Olympics Committee meetings, the Asia Oil & Gas Conference and World Urban Forum.

Averagely, the occupancy rate for the function space ranges between 60% and 70%, which can be considered full occupancy because the remaining 30% to 40% is used by event organisers either to set up or to clean up.

However, according to Pryor, KL Convention Centre could “easily end up being a victim of its own success,” as its popularity has resulted in a number of maintenance challenges.

“Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is a great building with a flexible event space and we have been building its brand over the years, so it is enjoying a very high demand. This has resulted in high throughput and it means that the building works really, really hard indeed,” he explains.

This means that the management team has to run a very strict maintenance regiment.

“We are going to be 15 years old next year so there is a risk of things getting tired and worn out. We carry out preventive maintenance and we do health checks to see what needs to be done and when to do it. We don’t wait for things to break down and we try to read into the future as far as possible to see what is going to need attention,” says Pryor.

“If somebody damages or breaks something in the building today, we fix it straight away. The only delay is when we need to get a spare part. Otherwise, we fix it immediately.

“For major projects, we would probably carry them out at year-end or early in the year where you know it is going to be quieter. But other than that, we just identify pockets of time, such as night time,” he elaborates.

Hashim points out that the team does not spare any capital on maintenance to ensure everything in the building is in tip-top condition.

“Maintenance is the most important thing to ensure the building’s pristine condition. So, from day one, the convention centre has committed itself to attain world-class management and sustainability certifications including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000 and OHSAS 18001. It is also EarthCheck silver-certified and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified,” Hashim adds.

Upgrades in the pipeline

Several building upgrades are underway and more are expected to come. “We have a planned maintenance schedule and we do health checks on M&E (mechanical and electrical). We have also done refurbishments and some replacements on an annual basis. There are also repairs and unplanned maintenance when people damage or break things. So these are the three main elements of maintenance here,” Pryor says.

The convention centre had refurbished its central access control system and CCTVs, tinted its windows and completed some work on the air- conditioning system to enable it to work more efficiently. It is currently in the midst of replacing its lights with LED lights and upgrading all the toilets.

To improve efficiency, the management also strives to keep abreast with the latest technology.

“We are now studying the adoption of a business control system or building management system. We are looking at what enhancements we can make and what savings that will give us,” he says.

On top of that, there are also plans to refresh the interior design in some parts of the building and inject a Malaysian theme into the convention centre as well as the food.

“We are also looking at bringing in digital screens, and that would be for information and to give our clients more opportunities for branding and advertising,” explains Pryor.

Expanding to the new building next door

As the function space is running at full capacity, KL Convention Centre will be extending its function space with a new building tentatively named Lot 91 by mid-2019, says Hashim.

The 52-storey building, which consists of a podium and office spaces, is expected to be completed in sections. The podium will be completed by mid this year, and the remaining components by mid-2020. It is a joint venture between KLCC (Holdings) and Sapura Resources Bhd.

The expansion is expected to double the exhibition space of the convention centre from about 100,000 sq ft to more than 200,000 sq ft with the new space spreading over three levels in the podium.

The operable wall design will be adopted for the front walls of the exhibition halls to allow the halls to be opened up into the foyer, giving the space the flexibility to be either an exhibition or conference space.

With the upcoming expansion and refurbishment, coupled with the world-class management team, Hashim expects the convention centre to continue its successful journey and continue playing its key role as a global convention centre in the KLCC precinct, in the region and in the world.

The highlights of the Awards:

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin on good property management:

For an overview of the winners at the Awards: Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah named Malaysia’s Exemplary Leader of Sustainable Development 2019

For more information about the Awards night and the winners, click here.

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my pullout on April 26, 2019. You can access back issues here.

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